Intended for healthcare professionals


Health in all policies

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 03 July 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f4283
  1. Ilona Kickbusch, director, Global Health Programme
  1. 1Graduate Institute, PO Box 136, CH 1211 Geneva 21, Switzerland
  1. kickbusch{at}

An approach that accepts that health is not created by ministries of health or healthcare systems

“Health in all policies” has become the catchphrase for taking account of health and equity in the policies of other sectors. Launched last month on the occasion of the eighth International Conference on Health Promotion in Helsinki, a new book intends to provide “practical workable solutions in a range of settings for a range of problems.”1 It aims at a broad audience of policy makers and implementers worldwide, with examples spanning the globe from highly developed welfare states (Finland), to both middle income (Thailand) and low income countries. A welcome feature is the attention given to the global action needed to tackle common problems that span borders—for example, in relation to trade policies. A chapter is included on how development assistance can become more effective through health in all policies.

The book should contribute to a better understanding of how to go about tackling “wicked problems” and complexity in health.2 Eight detailed policy examples—including ones relating to tobacco, alcohol, agriculture and food policies, work, and early child hood development—give a comprehensive overview, with …

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